On April 19, 2021, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced plans to roll back COVID-19-related restrictions on businesses—although certain mask requirements may remain in effect. The governor intends to lift the restrictions in stages commencing May 1, 2021, through May 19, 2021.
Restrictions Prior to May 1, 2021
All current sector rules and restrictions remain in effect. This includes social distancing requirements.
Modified Restrictions Effective May 1, 2021
Restrictions on certain business will begin to be lifted on May 1, 2021. This includes the following changes:
- Curfews for restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, and theaters will be extended to midnight.
- Several restrictions applicable to outdoor services will be lifted. For example, bars that do not serve food can open for outdoor service and limits on table party size will be eliminated.
For indoor service, food will still be required when serving alcohol and seating continues to be limited to eight individuals per table.
Lifting of All Restrictions Effective May 19, 2021
Governor Lamont plans to lift all remaining business restrictions on May 19, 2021, “[c]ontingent upon sufficiently low rates of infection and increasing vaccination rates,” This includes the following changes:
- All curfews on service at restaurants, entertainment and recreation venues, and theaters will be lifted.
- Sector rules will become guidance, except for the rules on certain mask mandates as discussed below.
- Social distancing continues to be required where possible..
- All capacity limits for indoor and outdoor gatherings will cease.
According to the press release, “[t]he Department of Public Health will issue recommendations for indoor and other large outdoor events, such as concerts,” and clarify under what circumstances masks may be required after May 19, 2021.
Governor Lamont also announced that as of May 19, 2021, masks would no longer be required when outdoors, unless social distancing is not possible. The use of indoor masks will continue, and the Department of Public Health will issue guidance on their continued use.
Operating Your Connecticut Business as of May 19, 2021
Even with the easing of restrictions, companies may want to consider the viability of safety measures implemented during the pandemic, including following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s cleaning and disinfection recommendations, or encouraging employees to stay home if sick. Businesses may also want to continue to monitor state and local guidance and implement those processes in accordance with their industry and workforce.
Ogletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.
Please note that the restrictions summarized in this article are based on the available guidance as of April 26, 2021.